A lot of people were extremely impressed with the new Ferrari 458 Italia last year, at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The model was presented, at that time, as the replacement of the ever so popular F430 by the Italian supercar manufacturer.
Now, after the dust has settled and orders are coming in to the Maranello headquarters of Ferrari, the company has revealed the first race car take on its new model: the 458 Italia Challenge.
As you can see above in the single image revealed (up until now), the new sportscar is definitely ready to hit the track, thanks to a plethora of upgrades and improvements.
First off, the primary goal of almost all of the modifications made to the 458 Italia Challenge was the reduction of weight. As such, a new lightweight body kit was added; the panels are now even thinner while materials like carbon fiber or Lexan were used.
The new Ferrari race car now sits closer to the ground by 30mm, thanks to a special suspension setup, boasting aluminum bushings, stiffer sprints and racing-style center-nut 19-inch rims. These are wrapped in competition-spec Pirelli tires, for maximum grip. The braking system, as tradition dictates, comes from Brembo, and uses the same CCM2 assembly that was featured by the 599XX racing prototype.
As a first for Ferrari modified race cars (except the Formula 1 models), the 458 Italia Challenge uses the new F1-Trac traction control system. This was developed by Ferrari to adapt the car more easily to changing weather conditions. Drivers can choose between Wet or Dry configuration or, if they’re feeling lucky, can select the traction control to be off, and really wrestle with the car. Besides the increased control, the F1-Trac combines the E-Diff differential system to ensure that maximum acceleration is achieved when exiting corners.
Power figures are the same as the regular 458 Italia though. The race car uses the exact 4.5-liter V8 engine as in the stock car, boasting 570 HP at a screaming 9,000 rpm. Upgrades were made to the gearbox though, as the dual-clutch assembly now boasts improver gear ratios that guarantee high torque at lower revs. As we mentioned above, the E-Diff system in the road car is so advanced, Ferrari opted to keep it in the Challenge version.
The new Ferrari 458 Italia Challenge race car is set to be raced by the company in its one-make motorsport series, the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli, starting with the 2011 season. It will be joined by the existing F430 Challenge race car. The series is so popular that a special championship will also be organized for Asia-Pacific teams.
You don’t need to own a professional race team though, as Ferrari will offer its newest race car to anyone with the bank account big enough to afford it and a trailer ready to haul it to and from enclosed circuits, as the car isn’t road legal.
The 458 Italia Challenge has been revealed to existing dealerships at a closed event in Maranello, and will be up for sale at the end of the year.